If you play poker at all, either recreationally or for a living, you inevitably will develop a love/hate relationship with the cards themselves.
Sometimes, they're so good to you; others, they break your heart.
As we all know, though, it's not the cards at fault. They're just inanimate objects that sometimes, even, can be turned into spectacular pieces of art.
Whole Cities of Cards
Everybody has likely tried to build a house of cards at some point, but few of us ever really have much success - even with the simplest of structures.
American card stacker Bryan Berg is so good he makes a living out of it.
The 40-year-old Berg has fulfilled a childhood dream. His craft is very well sought after and his clients come from all over the world.
Berg began building card castles following the example of his grandfather. He is an autodidact in his art but he also has received the Architecture and Design Achievement Award from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in Design from Harvard University.
Over the years Berg has excelled in his craft so much he's taken building houses of cards to castles of cards, palaces of cards and even whole cities of cards. Berg's pieces, in fact, have become monumental in every way.
Berg doesn’t use any tricks or auxiliary means like bending/folding the cards or tape or glue. (Although to be fair he used glue once when he recreated the famous Las Vegas sign in 2006).
Berg’s work was even shown at the World Series of Poker - and doesn't only consist of cards but also dice, chips and wood.
Berg’s popularity has been boosted tremendously thanks to appearances in the Guinness Book of Records for building the highest (1992) and largest (2004) houses of cards in the world.
The building he created in 2004 - the amazing Cinderella castle - is famous all over the world and the piece that more or less made him known to the general public.
Countless Disney fans and celebrities have gone to see it and Berg’s popularity grew dramatically.
Thanks to the exposure his works received he's had requests to create a lot of commissioned works.
One of the best-known big projects was a copy of the Eiffel Tower, requested in 2013 by Virgin Australia’s Frequent Flyer Program.
Berg needed 120 hours of work to complete it.
In 2009 Berg recreated a complete hotel room at the Holiday Inn using the hotel’s key cards.
For this work Berg also used glue and cardboard boxes. A TV crew followed the process of his work live for several days.
Inspired? If you're now contemplating putting down the poker chips and picking up the card-stacking business, here's Berg’s advice:
Get yourself a cheap deck of playing cards. They're less slippery and good to start working with.
And begin by building simple structuress - they'll be the basis of your future masterpieces.
Check out the video below to see Berg at work.